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Playing in the Garden in South London - Family Photo with Rob

Posted in Just One at 11:45 on 05/04/2018

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I've been busy recently, out taking pictures and tucked away in the office working on a big project (more to come on that soon). It's proving to be such an exciting year but it does mean the blog has been a little neglected and I apologise for that, normal service will be resuming shortly.

In the meantime, I want to share a Just One from a recent shoot in South London with the fantastic Rob who was an absolute blast to photograph along with his family, with pictures at their home and out and about at some of their local parks.

This was our second photo shoot and so I was really looking forward to it, it's so lovely to return to families I have met before and see how the children have grown. Rob was full of beans and so excited to play, proudly showing me his toys and books. We were lucky with the weather too, it was cold but bright and sunny, one of those crisp spring days that I love.

It's been so hard to choose a Just One from all the different activities we squeezed in; from a run around at the park to baking a delicious carrot cake, but I keep returning to this one. Rob, playing with his daddy in the garden and dressed appropriately for the occasion -complete with crash helmet - there's a boy with an eye to health and safety!

I love the joy in this picture, Rob flying up in the air, arms and legs out and a look of pure happiness on his face. I love the crash helmet (ok, we were riding bikes around the garden too so it was worn for a reason) but it really makes me giggle in this context. I love the composition too.

When working in confined spaces, such as London gardens, then working with the environment is crucial. Using the elements around us; trees, fences, garden sheds and toys, to add to a picture rather than distract from it is key, otherwise images can look cluttered and messy. Often angle is important here with low angles like this one allowing me to cut out distractions.

The shape of the tree really adds to the picture and the dynamic lines sweeping up from the left-hand corner really guide our eye around the image. I love how the branch appears to be perfectly formed to echo Rob's body language, curving over his head and spreading out from his arms in both directions. It's worked perfectly, and the shallow depth of field means the tree has added to the image with a subtle background rather than overshadowing the foreground action. It's one of the great challenges of family photography and one of the things I find most interesting, working in an environment in different ways to get the very best pictures possible.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at, and reading about, this image. With spring on our doorstep it's the perfect time to book a family portrait session and I'm taking bookings as far as November so do get in touch if you would like to know more and we can put a date in the diary for you.

Helen Bartlett at The Photography Show - Canon and Light Blue

Posted in For Photographers at 07:25 on 16/03/2018

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This morning I'm off to the NEC in Birmingham ready for The Photography Show, the main event in the UK photography calendar. Over four days, thousands of photographers will get together to look at the most recent kit, listen to inspirational speakers and catch up with their friends. I've been going for years and look forward to it each spring.

As always, I'll be spending the majority of the show on the Light Blue Software stand (A68), helping out my husband Tom who wrote the software, and his talented team to demonstrate the benefits of studio management to new users and answer questions from existing clients. It's always such fun to be on the stand, to see the familiar faces who always pop by to say hello and how much they love the program and also to meet new people and introduce them to this amazing piece of software which can transform their photography businesses.

I've been lucky enough to use Light Blue since I started my business, in fact I was the first ever user when Tom built the first system to run his wedding business and my portrait business and now, fourteen years on, I really don't know what I would do without it. I love how I can see all the details of all my clients at the click of a button. It's so fun when chatting to people to be able to check and say yes 'yes, it was back in 2009 we first met' as we look at old pictures and try to remember exactly when we took them. Many of my clients have been having family photography sessions annually since I started, having all the details of all the sessions to hand is brilliant.

As well as singing the praises of Light Blue, this year I will be hard at work on the Canon Stand, presenting my talk 'Great Family Photos and How to Take Them' on three occasions over the weekend.

I'm on Saturday at 10:30-11:20, Monday at 13:30-14:20 and Tuesday 15:30-16:20 and I hope to see some of you there.

It's so fun writing talks, I love the process of going back over my work and actually thinking through all the different elements, what it is I look for in a picture and also coming up with tips and tricks to help other photographers improve their work. It's been particularly fun writing for such a mixed audience, at the photography show we will have full time professionals who have been photographing for years but also keen amateurs who just want to improve their pictures of their own children. I'm hoping that there will be something for everyone in the talk and that the audience will leave full of enthusiasm for photographing the families in their lives.

It's going to be a busy few days and I can't wait. If you are at the show do come and say hello on the Light Blue stand or pop by Canon to hear me talk, it would be lovely to see you.

A Firebird on Hampstead Heath

Posted in Just One at 07:12 on 14/03/2018

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I last photographed Margot back in 2010 and so I was thrilled to visit her in Hampstead to update her pictures. In the intervening years Margot has grown into such an incredible young lady - confident, funny and incredibly company. I had such a brilliant time chatting Harry Potter and and marvelling at Margot's gymnastics skills. It was such a fantastic way to spend a morning.

For the first half of our shoot we went out onto Hampstead Heath. The weather was kind and although there was a chill in the air the light was beautiful, soft and mysterious, perfect for the pictures we took in and around the trees.

I loved watching Margot demonstrate her gymnastics - handstands, jumps, it was incredible. I'm constantly trying to improve my yoga prowess but I'm such an amateur, I think I know just enough to really appreciate how incredible her skills are. I've done a bit of yoga photography recently, mainly for my club in North London, and so it was great to put those skills to good use on this lovely family shoot.

I find that my work is a mix of portraiture and action shots and I love to make the best use of the environment in which I'm working, whether that's indoors in my client's home or out and about at places like Hampstead Heath. I'm always looking for good backgrounds and ways to frame the action in interesting and beautiful ways.

This shot, today's Just One, I took as we were heading home from the heath. Walking along a path I saw the way the trees created a frame at the top of the hill. Showing Margot on the back of my phone how the branches encircled the area of light we worked together to create this picture. Working with older children and teenagers is such fun as we can collaborate on ideas like this.

Margot was amazing, getting into just the right place and then showing me some of her wonderful jumps, I think this one was called the Firebird, she certainly looks wild and free and amazing.

I hope you like it as much as I do, today's Just One from a recent family shoot on Hampstead Heath.

Six Pages in Professional Imagemaker Magazine

Posted in In the press at 10:51 on 12/03/2018

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It's always lovely to see my family photography work printed in a magazine and so I was thrilled to see my pictures of Poppy printed over six pages in Professional Imagemaker recently.

I've been photographing Poppy since she was a week old and over the years we've done many fantastic photo shoots. Some shoots have been at the family home, others out and about, exploring some of London's parks and the woodland near their home. Further still we ventured to Cornwall for a few summer beach sessions and I discovered that I like speedboats a lot more when I'm distracted by taking pictures (I can get seasick on the pedalos in Hyde Park!).

It's been such a pleasure watching this facinating, confident, beautiful girl grow up and each year I look forward to seeing the family again and catching up on the news. Poppy's younger brother Edward is also one of my favourite subjects to photograph and one of my most recent pictures of him was my favourite shot of 2017.

The accompanying article went alongside my talk at the SWPP back in January, 'Finding your Style in Family Photography' and looked at the importance of following your own path with your photography.

I've always been keen to work in black and white because I know from my own experience that these pictures look as good in thirty years' time as they do today. My pictures of my own childhood hang proudly on my wall and sit happily next to pictures I take of my nieces and nephews today. Timeless images are what it is about for me, pictures that are for the children as well as of the children.

As you can see in this article, by shooting in one style, and not flitting around with fads and fashions, all the pictures we have taken look fantastic when presented together and will, I am sure, look fantastic alongside all the images we are yet to take as Poppy and her brother grow up into the wonderful adults I know they will become.

Here are a few shots of the magazine itself, I hope you enjoy them.

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Celebrating Mother's Day

Posted in Family at 10:22 on 11/03/2018

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It’s only as I grow up that I really realise all the amazing things that my mum did for us. With four children and her own business I realise now that we were a little unfair to complain if our cooked breakfast was burnt as she tried to get us dressed, pack our lunches and ferry us out the door to school. As an adult, I can’t quite believe we actually had hot food every morning, she truly is a Super-mum.

As it’s Mother’s Day today I want to join with all the children, all the families, saying thank you to all the mums out there for the amazing job you do – reading stories, bandaging scraped knees, driving us to music lessons, helping us grow and learn, teaching us to become good people able to go out into the world.

Mum’s are amazing (as are dads of course, and grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends) Today is for the mums though, for the wonderful things you do, for your incredible selflessness and amazing hard work. We love you and we thank you.

From a photographer’s point of view photographing parents with their children is an absolute joy. I love to see such incredible love and record it in pictures that I know the children will look back on and smile. It’s an amazing and wonderful thing, from the grand gestures to the little glances, the soft stroke of the hair or the moment where a mum can’t help but pull their baby close and nuzzle them, breathing in the very essence of their little one. It’s a joy to behold and an even greater joy to photograph.

So, in celebration of all the mum’s out there – here are some pictures taken over the years. Pictures that celebrate this wonderful relationship of mothers and children

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